Role Transitions in Organizational Life: An Identity-Based Perspective

Role Transitions in Organizational Life: An Identity-Based Perspective

Role Transitions in Organizational Life: An Identity-Based Perspective

Role Transitions in Organizational Life: An Identity-Based Perspective

Synopsis

Identity-based approaches to understanding thoughts, feelings, and actions in organizations have produced, particularly in recent years, an array of rich insights that have broadened the domain of organizational behavior. This book brings these insights together in one complete source and uses them collectively to stretch further the boundaries of the discipline. Blake Ashforth accomplishes this goal by creating new ways of viewing the many forms of role transitions evident in organizational life. He looks at role transitions people make during the workday (i.e., from spouse/parent to employee) and studies the identity and status issues faced.

This unique authored book also creatively accomplishes two scholarly objectives. First, it provides a needed review, critique, and integration of what is known about being socially defined in an organizational context; and second, it provides fresh and intriguing perspectives on the dynamics of role engagement and disengagement both within and between organizations.

This book will appeal to psychologists, managers, and lifespan development researchers interested in the transitions people make as they go through life.

Excerpt

Years ago, when I was a newly minted assistant professor, I taught an offcampus MBA course to would-be managers. My wife, Deb, would often pick me up when class ended. One time she arrived early and stood outside the classroom door, out of sight, listening to me do my thing. Afterward she said, "Where did you get that professor voice?"—which I took to mean "authoritative and compelling," whereas she meant "dry and preachy."

It got me thinking: Where did I get that professor voice and why did I get a different voice at all? Wasn't I the same person no matter where I was or what I was doing?

In the course of a day, we may wear many different hats: Spouse, parent, colleague, friend, subordinate, manager, customer, worshipper, sports fan, and so on. And over the course of years, we outgrow some hats and try on new ones: For example, the student becomes an assistant manager, then a manager, and then establishes her own business. What's more, the number and variety of hats we wear over time may well be increasing.

This book attempts to answer what happens to the /—to the person— as he or she dons and doffs these many hats over the course of a day and over the course of a life. In short, it focuses on role transitions, on the process of exiting one role and entering another.

And so, in my best professor voice… . . .

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